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Hangover Tour


Speeding Up
Nov 23, 2006
With apologies to Mike and all who made the Otoge and Bears Tour :eek:

Half way through proceedings at the Hub on Friday evening it became apparent that Saturday`s activities would require a little reworking. As I glanced across at Travis, and the clamour in the bar grew even louder, I realised that more Guinness was required to develop the plan. I say Travis because the more he drank the more determined he became to be on the Otoge and Bears Tour. Clearly, I needed some of what he was drinking. And besides Travis was working hard to max out his Hub loyalty points card and I thought this was a worthy endeavour and one that should be fully supported. So I did !

With around 20km to go on Stage 7 Thomas, looking remarkably fit and, more importantly, still lucid, remarked that wouldn`t it be a good idea to have a little less of a strenuous day out on Saturday ? I am not sure what happened next but in the twinkling of an eye Thomas, Shinobu and I, Shay (perhaps) and one or two others had agreed to meet at a very civilised 11am at Musashi Itsukaichi station and take in one or two hills to pass the day. Travis remained unconvinced.....it was definitely Bears for him.

As I ran for the last train I remember thinking that there were no easy roads out of Musashi Itsukaichi and Thomas` idea of a gentle day out might be rather like listening to and believing Hannibal when he said that he would call it quits in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Nevertheless in the morning I awoke without a trace of hangover and raring to go. Clearly the mammoth Guinness sessions of late were beginning to pay off and the training manual I had been using was proving its worth (Faster Descending by "Beer Gut" Kelly) in case anyone else is interested.

As it turned out it was just the three of us - Thomas, Shinobu and I - at the station. They had ridden out together and I had been luxuriating in air-conditioned splendour on the Chuo reading cycling mags - so there !

It was absolutely sweltering with a clear blue sky. The local bakery must have had record takings as we sat and devoured several sticky buns and a few litres of juice. Finally we decided to move out.

It was good to get moving !

As we made our way to towards the turn off for Tomon no Mori it finally dawned on me that we were going to go up the horrible Kazahari Toge that had been the intro for the famous 3000m day a few weeks previously. As I had really struggled on this I was actually feeling that now was a good chance to try it again. After all I had seen it before hadn`t I ?

Thomas was off the front but we were all fairly close together and stopped by a vending machine ( at Fujiwara ?) before the turn off for the climb proper. I was quite OK with what we had already achieved and it was absolutely sweltering :warau::warau::warau::warau: ....er but no turning back now:eek:

We decided to cool off properly in the river running below. There were some steps down and we were soon paddling in the cool, cool, waters much to the chagrin of a couple of old boys fishing upstream !

Time passed by and we were idly wondering how someone had managed to get a JCB half way up the mountain on slopes of over 30%.....when....a solitary, but very black.....cloud began to edge its way into our peripheral vision a la Independence Day shadow ! Who put that there ? This isn`t supposed to happen.....

A quick keitai check and no one can get a signal. A local crone passing by gibbering and cackling like one of the three witches in Macbeth.....declares...." ...ame...ame....".

Complete calm descends, the blackness envelops.....and then , with a mighty plop, a raindrop like a good sized grape splatters on my head. And then another !

We quickly decide to shelter in someone`s garage along with the bikes. The rain hammers down, one or two rumbles of thunder. Thomas convinces us that this is summer mountain rain and that it will soon be over. Oh yeh sure....

After about twenty minutes the rain does indeed relent and the sage of the mountain rain gods declares that the right offerings have been made and we should press on. We foolishly agree ! It is now pleasantly cool although the roads are steaming in the post shower haze.

As we climb the first part of Kazahari there is a lot of debris on the road but still OK, although the metal gratings are very slippery and every time my back wheel passes over one under power then it steps out. Kinda scary if controllable. We have now arrived at the stopping point before the real 5 kms of heavy duty action begins.

Thomas asks me if I have an allen key as his bars have slipped a little. Nothing serious. I do and pass him my tool with various bits. All the while the intensity of the rain is increasing again. Unfortunately it seems that between Thomas and I we have dropped the right allen bit and spend the next 10 minutes looking for it in the grass. The rain is beating on our backs and hammering off the road again. In no time at all we are absolutely soaked. Shinobu just stands there laughing ! She is soaked as well though !! Thomas says...."shall we abandon...?".

At this moment there is a tremendous crash and a rumble. But this is not thunder. A pipe bearing water from the mountain deposits a mass of rocks on the road behind us. Thomas says, not without a little wry humour...." ...this is about survival now...". Drama or what ! Another crash and another load of rocks shoots out of the pipe.

We decide to walk down, not much choice for it. And then .....it stops ! A beam of sunlight pierces the gloom. Lets carry on - we cannot get any wetter now !

Up we go. I am pleased to only stop three times at absolute max HR and to `clean` the piece after the abandoned car up the next section which is definitely the worst part. Lots of zigzagging though. The views are absolutely fantastic with the fresh greens interspersed with patches of mist. Very tropical rain forest...could be in Sumatra actually. At the top we re-group. It has been a fantastic effort to get this far.

We all agree that a descent via Tomin no Mori is best, stopping at the restaurant there for some soba and coffee etc. A chill has descended and the descent to the bottom in wet gear is not so inviting. At last we decide to go for it as the rain seems to have eased and the roads are drying. So, slowly and carefully, we make our way down uneventfully to the bottom and then on to Musashi-Itsukaichi. It is a tad over 58km for the loop btw.

I am feeling pretty good now and we have all dried out so I decide to grab the rinko bag from the locker and ride home to make it a good century for the day. I have not taken this route before however with Thomas as lead out man we are soon on Tamagawa and enjoy a brisk paced run back to Setagaya-dori and home.

Lessons learnt :

1) Preparation is not key. The best ideas are always spontaneous, random, ill-researched and completely stupid

2) A hangover is not a necessity but it helps to mask the reality of the stupidity that you have agreed to under 1)

3) Only mad, dogs, Englishmen and TCC members venture out in the midday sun :cool::cool:

4) Never check forecasts - they only detract from the pleasure derived from 1)

5) Do not maintain your bike or play around with less than 3mm allen key bits in areas with grass growing higher than your bottom bracket

6) Never listen to Thomas again.....

Fantastic day Thomas and Shinobu. Lets do something stupid again soon !!:D:D


PS - check out the gallery for the shots of the day !
Fabulous read, thanks for the account chazzer. The weather gods went schizophrenic this weekend, but glad to see it deterred none of the usual TCC suspects :)
Thank you

Thanks a lot for the great report!
And Thank you Thomas-san too!
We had a great time:)
I'd like to challenge to Kazahari touge again.
I can't wait for next time:p
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